Ga verder naar de inhoud

Passionate about plankton!

9 januari 2008
Tinkertree, a cooperation between Joeri Christiaen and Grid's managing duo Frank De Wulf and Jan Goossen, is launching Plankton Invasion. This interactive multimedia miniseries focuses on the theme of global warming. The animation comedy series will be highly interactive, since everyone will be able to participate in a scriptwriting competition to see their idea come to life in animation.
'The starting point for Tinkertree was to develop good concepts that are feasible to produce as well as to focus on the creative and part of animation and on its content', explains Frank De Wulf. 'We have some concepts that are close to being fully developed, or nearly ready for production, like Zooty (for ages 3 to 6) and The Adventures of Helping Hanz (for ages 5 to 8).' Plankton Invasion is a different story, because Joeri Christiaen already started making the series in-house. 'We all have jobs we make a living with, while Plankton Invasion is something we put our heart in... and a great deal of our leisure time. We are just passionate about animation.'Plankton Invasion tells the story of earth's first life forms reclaiming their rightful place in the world. To re-conquer the world, they have a cunning plan: to create a global water world by melting the ice caps. To obtain this kind of global warming, they set out to pollute the environment as much as possible and to destroy the man they believe is their archenemy, 'Mr. Kyoto'. A special task force unit (Captain John C. Star, Sergeant Pulpo Kalmarez and Doctor Anna Medusa) is sent to the continent to execute the plan of the chief commander, since the plankton army is useless on land. The commander comes up with the most absurd missions for the task force unit. 'We wanted to create a highly qualitative animation series with a lot of humour and with references to movies or TV series', says Christiaen. 'Also, we aim to stimulate the interaction with our audience by organising a scriptwriting competition. Everyone who has a great joke to tell, is invited to send it to the website. Every month, the online audience picks out a winner by voting. But in order to maintain the quality, we also provide our own stories, depending on the originality of the ideas at hand. Because, on the other hand, we want to gradually build a talent pool of young scriptwriters.' The length of one episode is set at about three minutes, but can vary according to the type of joke that is being told. 'Sometimes it can be not much more than a visual gag, we just want to put a smile on people's faces', explains Christiaen.The online campaign to promote Plankton Invasion has been going on for quite a while and has drawn the attention of leading industry websites such as CGchannel and CGtalk. 'Based on the teasers we distributed, we have been mentioned on the front pages of these websites, alongside Pixar, Disney etc. Right after we put the second teaser on our website, we received 16,000 hits in a couple of days. This kind of attention motivates us to keep on aiming for the best quality possible.'Joeri uses the Messiah software in order to animate fast. 'I think it should be possible to make one episode in four to five weeks. 'For example, I made the second teaser in just three weeks: writing, drawing storyboards, modeling, animating... With this concept, individual animators should be able to produce an episode completely on their own. The Tinkertree team is thrilled by the very enthusiastic response from colleagues within the industry: 'Lots of animators willing to cooperate have already contacted us, it seems a lot of fun to them to participate in Plankton Invasion. For us it is important that there are many skilled animators that want to work on this project, of course. Our wet dream is to be able to work on it with a number of people, true to both concept, bible and story. We want to give Plankton Invasion the opportunity to grow slowly but steadily. Our aim is not to sell it or to make a quick profit. We would like to cherish it and find the right people to work on it, because we really believe in the strength of this concept.' Check it all out on